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A ‘more honest’ stock market

Hello friends, and welcome back to Week in Review!
Last week, I talked about Clubhouse’s slowing user growth. Well, this week news broke that they had been in talks with Twitter for a $4 billion acquisition, so it looks like they’re still pretty desirable. This week, I’m talking about a story I published a couple days ago that highlights pretty much everything that’s wild about the alternative asset world right now.
If you’re reading this on the TechCrunch site, you can get this in your inbox from the newsletter page, and follow my tweets @lucasmtny.

The …

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Visa supports transaction settlement with USDC stablecoin

Payment card network Visa has announced that transactions can be settled using USD Coin (USDC), a stablecoin powered by the Ethereum blockchain. Crypto.com is the first company to test the new capability with its own Visa-branded cards.
USDC is a stablecoin co-founded by Circle and Coinbase and managed the Centre consortium. As the name suggests, USDC is a cryptocurrency that follows the value of USD. One USDC is always worth one USD — hence the name stablecoin.
In order to make sure that the value of USDC remains stable, USDC partners keep USD on bank accounts every time they issue …

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Extra Crunch roundup: AI eats fintech, fundraising visas, no-code transition tips, more

Most American retail banks are designed the same way: Customers must pass several desks set aside for loan and mortgage officers before they can talk to a customer representative.
I only step inside a bank a few times each year, but even pre-pandemic, I can’t remember the last time I saw someone sitting at one of those desks. Everyone I know who’s obtained a home or business loan in the recent past started with an online application process.
For this morning’s column, Alex Wilhelm interviewed Dave Girouard, CEO of Upstart, an AI-powered fintech lender that expects to …

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Vega raises $5M to give anyone the ability to launch a derivatives market

Vega, a startup that is building a decentralized protocol for creating and trading on derivatives markets, has raised $5 million in funding.
Arrington Capital and Cumberland DRW co-led the round, which also included participation from Coinbase Ventures, ParaFi Capital, Signum Capital, CMT Digital, CMS Holdings, Three Commas and a slew of others. The new investment brings Vega’s total funding raised to over $10 million, according to Crunchbase data.
Vega Founder Barney Mannerings launched the Vega project in 2018 with the mission of giving anyone the ability to create and launch a derivatives market. The company claims that by eliminating centralized gatekeepers and …

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Europe’s rush for a COVID-19 ‘digital pass’ stirs concerns

More details have emerged today about the European Commission’s legislative proposal for a pan-EU ‘digital green pass’ to show verified COVID-19 status. The plan is controversial from a human rights and civil liberties perspective, given the clear risk of discrimination. But privacy and security experts are also raising concerns about the technology architecture that will underpin the system — which has yet to detailed in full.
“The proposal does not yet meet the requirements of data protection and protection against discrimination,” said German Pirate MEP Patrick Breyer in a statement today. “It does not ensure that the digital variant of …

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Chinese beauty app Meitu bought $40 million worth of cryptocurrency

Following in the footsteps of Tesla, Chinese app maker Meitu has joined the ranks of cryptocurrency investment.
In the early 2010s, Meitu reached such dominance in the portrait touch-up space that its eponymous flagship app became a verb for “photo beautifying” in China. But in recent years, as smartphones became to offer built-in filters, photo editors like Meitu are struggling to hold their lead. Meitu’s stock shrank from HK$18 apiece in 2017 to less than HK$3 today.
As the company turns 13 years old and seeks alternative growth, it sets its eyes on cryptocurrency.
Meitu purchased 15,000 units of Ether and 379.1214267 units …

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EdgeOps for IoT: A Vision For Edge

Of the many complementary technologies that enable IoT (internet of things) deployments, there are none quite as critical as the distributed architecture commonly known as edge computing. Technically, edge computing and its concepts are nothing new. In the 1960s, the Apollo missions that brought humanity to the moon relied on a distributed network of mainframes (see Figure 1). One was located in Houston and powered the console displays in the Apollo Mission Control Center. The others were positioned at antenna sites in California, Spain, and Australia. Even in those early days of computing there was a need to position compute resources …

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Technology Decisionmakers Weigh in on 5G

It’s been said repeatedly that 5G is one of the biggest market opportunities in the next decade, but an unclear roadmap has been a hurdle up to this point. Is this still the case going into 2021? At CES, 2021 was heralded as the year of transition from readiness and availability of 5G. But, then again, 2020 was predicted by many to be the year of 5G, but now that the year is over, it’s safe to say 2020 will be known for other things. New research provides a glimpse into how business technology decisionmakers and their companies are positioned toward 5G …

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India plans to introduce law to ban Bitcoin, other private cryptocurrencies

India plans to introduce a law to ban private cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin in the country and provide a framework for the creation of an official digital currency during the current budget session of parliament.
In the agenda (PDF) published on the lower house website, the legislation seeks to “prohibit all private cryptocurrencies in India,” but allow “for certain exceptions to promote the underlying technology [blockchain] of cryptocurrency and its uses.”
The law also seeks to “create a facilitative framework for creation of the official digital currency” that will be issued by the nation’s central bank, Reserve Bank of …

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